Finance chief Taro Aso reiterates Japan’s dedication to October tax hike amid hypothesis of delay

Finance Minister Taro Aso reiterated Monday the government’s intention to raise the consumption tax from 8 percent to 10 percent in October as planned.

Although exports are sluggish due to the Chinese economic slowdown, the employment situation and incomes are improving, Aso said at a meeting of the Lower House Committee on Audit and Oversight of Administration.

He said he hopes consumption will recover.

The possibility of delaying the hike was floated last month by Koichi Hagiuda, a close aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Hagiuda told an online TV program: “We would not take the people toward a cliff. There could be a different development.”

His remark triggered much speculation, with some saying Abe might be thinking about delaying the hike for a third time.

Abe has twice pushed back the consumption tax rise. It was last raised in 2014, when it increased from 5 percent.

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